Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav met son and Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow on Tuesday. Factions of their supporters have appealed to the Election Commission to allow them to use the party symbol in upcoming Assembly elections. The two have been involved in an ongoing row that escalated last week, when Akhilesh Yadav released his own list of candidates for the polls.
Mulayam Singh Yadav had gone to Delhi to meet EC officials before meeting his son. The EC is expected to announce its verdict after hearing arguments from both factions. As voters have associated the cycle symbol with the party for decades, proving that their faction is the actual Samajwadi Party is vital for both sides ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, Party General Secretary Ram Gopal Yadav was also in Delhi to discuss Akhilesh Yadav’s claim that he is now national president of the party. Yadav had amassed the support of 200 of SP’s 229 MLAs on Saturday. On Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh chief minister was declared the Samajwadi Party’s national president by his uncle Ram Gopal Yadav and supporters at a national executive meeting in Lucknow. Both leaders were expelled from the party on December 30 but reinstated a day later.
Akhilesh Yadav was expelled from the Samajwadi Party soon after Mulayam Singh Yadav issued him a show cause notice for releasing his own list of candidates for the Uttar Pradesh polls, expected to be held in February. The chief minister’s supporters had held demonstrations in various parts of the state to protest against his expulsion.
The Samajwadi Party has faced infighting since September, when Shivpal Yadav was appointed the state SP chief. Akhilesh Yadav had then relieved Shivpal, his uncle, of his Cabinet portfolios, once in September and again in November. Despite intervention from Mulayam Singh Yadav, the rift in the party has remained, with Akhilesh Yadav’s supporters reportedly functioning independently out of a separate office in Lucknow.